As steam travels from the boiler room to its intended point of use it gradually cools and condensate accumulates.
Simply put, a steam trap is a component of a steam system that removes condensate, and non-condensable gasses from a steam system ensuring that only hot, pure steam reaches the intended point of use.
A steam trap achieves this by opening and closing automatically depending on the presence or absence of condensate.
When there is condensate present, the steam trap opens and allows the condensate to be discharged. When it is not, the steam trap remains closed, preventing steam to escape.
They come in different types, shapes, and sizes which all vary depending on the different applications the steam system is being used for.
Some categories of steam traps are mechanical, thermodynamic, and thermostatic.
It is important for maintenance and reliability teams to regularly schedule maintenance and condition monitoring on their steam traps, as they can fail open or closed, which leads to wasted energy, heat loss, and impure steam reaching the intended point of use, resulting in gradual equipment damage.